Many of us were comfort junkies. For much of our lives we had taken the path of least resistance. Rather than asking our boss for a raise, we avoided the anticipated confrontation. Perhaps we didn’t go to college because we thought it was going to be too much work. Maybe we remained in unhealthy relationships because the thought of breaking up was too painful for us to imagine. And so it went. To assist us in our search for comfort, we found our drug of choice. Whenever we felt distress over something, we immediately turned to alcohol, drugs or food to dampen its impact.
We had a bit of a shock when we entered the program. Other members were not the least bit concerned about their comfort or ours for that matter. We were quickly informed that if we wanted to become sober, we would have to go to any length to do so. That included doing some things that might make us extremely uncomfortable. We went to meetings even when we were dead tired. We called our sponsor even when the topic of conversation might be embarrassing for us. We took a coffee commitment even though it was far below our skill set. As time went on, life began to become a more comfortable experience for us.
Personal Reflection: Do I need to push through my discomfort?
Many of us grew up with feelings of not belonging. We were very uncomfortable in social situations; often finding ourselves tongue tied. As result of these feelings we lacked self confidence. Some of us isolated. Others became extremely co-dependent. Then there were those of us that overcompensated and became the life of the party while still carrying those feelings of not belonging.
Of course all of that changed when we found our drug of choice. It’s not that our discomfort disappeared, it was just covered over by alcohol, drugs or food. Eventually, they stopped working and all of those feeling of not belonging returned.
In sobriety, there is no magic cure. Yes,thing have really gotten better, but we still find ourselves feeling uncomfortable from time to time. It’s just that today we realize that most of what we are feeling is quite normal. There will be situations where we feel some fear or anger. It’s part of everyday life. The difference is that we no longer have to drink or drug over it. We can be comfortable in our discomfort. After that, we utilize the tools of the program to get to a better place.
Personal Reflection: Have I truly become comfortable in my discomfort?
Each of us has a different definition of what it means to be fulfilled. For one person it could be working with seniors as a volunteer. For another, it could be training for a marathon. For a third, it could be setting up a greenhouse in their backyard. The choices of what brings fulfillment are endless. One person’s passion would turn out to be boring for another. Finding personal fulfillment in life is part of what makes us human. Finding life purpose however does not mean that you will be given a pass on pain. Growth rarely takes place without some degree of discomfort. So many of us missed opportunities because we wanted to avoid suffering. Thus, the phone call didn’t get made, the question didn’t get asked, the trip didn’t get taken. At the end of the day, we ultimately missed out. Yes, we might have eluded some immediate pain or discomfort. But, in the process we missed out on an opportunity which could have provided an entirely new vista. On a deeper level, perhaps that new vista could have led us to an entirely new pathways of personal fulfillment. We also discovered that often the anticipated pain was largely illusory.
Personal Reflection: Have I sacrificed fulfillment for comfort?